Knott’s Berry Farm

Over the weekend, I attended a “behind the scenes” tour of Knott’s Berry Farm.

It was a special event for a small handful of photographers in Southern California.

I was excited about the opportunity because Knott’s is a place near and dear to my heart.

(They’ve never done an event like this before – what a great photography opportunity!)

On Saturday, I got up at.5:00 a.m. (!!!), showered, put on some Mac Fast Response Eye Cream, grabbed my camera, and drove to Buena Park.

When I arrived at Knott’s, the first thing I heard upon exiting my car was a rooster crowing.

Photo:  Rooster at Knott’s Berry Farm

Hearing a rooster confirmed what I already knew.  It was way too early in the day for a night owl like myself.

(Don’t roosters only crow at the first light of dawn?)

My friend, Neil, was waiting for me at check-in.  I had secured a second pass for Neil as my designated photo assistant.

Of course, the park wasn’t open to the public yet when we arrived.

We were treated to breakfast and coffee.

I was feeling much happier and very awake after a couple cups of coffee.

After breakfast, we began touring Knott’s.

Since we arrived before the park opened for the day, we were able to spend quality time taking photos.

Neil and I went to see Knott’s famous bakery first.

Photo:  An adorable baker.  (Taken inside the Knott’s Berry Farm kitchen.)

I really enjoyed being granted “behind the scenes” access to the Knott’s bakery.

It was bustling with activity.

As we entered the kitchen, hot boysenberry tarts were pulled from the oven and served to us.

Oh my!

Photo:  Knott’s Bakery samples for the photographers.

The kitchen smelled delicious!

We also had the opportunity to watch boysenberry pies being made.  (I’m going to tell you more about Knott’s pie-making in a separate post – very cool!)

After the bakery tour, we went on a “Coaster Walk.”

Now, to be honest, the Coaster Walk was my least favorite tour of the day.  Our guide must have still been half asleep.  She didn’t give us information about anything we were seeing.  We just walked past the roller coasters.  It was still before park hours so the roller coasters weren’t operating yet.  It was anti-climatic after the excitement of the busy bakery.

Next, we were treated to a train ride and a visit to the Calico Railroad’s Roundhouse.

Photo:  Inside the Calico Railroad train.

The train ride was fun and gave me a time to chat with a few of the other photographers.

A short while later, I had an opportunity to explore the roundhouse.

I came out of the roundhouse (where the trains are worked on) covered with dirt.

That’s what you get when you lay down on the floor of a roundhouse to take photos.

We also went on a  tour of a gigantic warehouse where Knott’s keeps all the props and decorations used to trick out the park throughout the year.  (Holiday decorations and more!)

It was really interesting to cruise up and down the aisles of the warehouse and see what treasures were hidden away.  The place was packed with all sorts of fun stuff.

Photo:  Self portrait by the coffins.  Taken in the Decor Warehouse.  (Neil is in the background.)

We took a short water break, and then finished up with Knott’s Historian, Eric Lynxwiler.

Eric was WONDERFUL!  He toured us through Knott’s Ghost Town.

Photo:  Knott’s Berry Farm Ghost Town

Eric is full of fascinating trivia about Knott’s.  There’s so much California history tied to the park.  Neil and I were glad we were the last people with Eric for the day … it allowed us extra time with him.

(I could spend hours talking to Eric.  In fact, maybe I’ll invite him over for dinner sometime.  Do you think he wants to be my friend?)

Once our tours were complete, we were free to enjoy the park for as long as we liked.

(And we did!)

Photo:  Snoopy – for sale at a Knott’s concession stand. 

P.S. Neil, was WONDERFUL!  He carried a very heavy backpack of gear for me for hours, and hours, and hours.  He didn’t complain once.  He had never been to Knott’s Berry Farm before, and he had SO much fun working with me throughout the day.  He was a total champ.  (I couldn’t have gotten through so many consecutive hours of photography without him.  My bum arm made it through the entire day.)    THANK YOU Neil!

P.P.S.  It was such a busy day, I’ll have more about our adventures in days to come.

P.P.P.S.  A huge thank you to Knott’s Berry Farm for the fantastic V.I.P. treatment.  It was an amazing, fun-filled, day!!

10 Responses to “Knott’s Berry Farm”

  1. Jan's Sushi Bar

    Oh, what fun! And darn that roller coaster tour guide; I love coasters, and I’d have loved to hear more about the ones at Knott’s Berry Farm.

  2. Missy

    What an interesting day and I LOVE their Boysenberry pies! I can only imagine how wonderful the bakery smelled.

  3. Sandra

    I love Knotts Berry Farm! As a child my parents took my brother and I to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm always on the same trip. When my softball team won the local playoffs we went to Buena Park for finals. We lost there but visited Disneyland, the Wax Museum and Knotts Berry Farm. I haven’t been there since I was 13 years old. When we take my girls to Disneyland this summer I need to throw in a Knotts Day.

  4. Gaelyn

    What a great place to go tour! Haven’t been since I was kid, 100+ years ago. Boysenberry is my Fave, so jealous. Love the selves portrait. Thanks to Neil for being your mule. All great shots. Look forward to more.

  5. Leo Soderman

    As a teen, I spent many, many hours at Disneyland. My girlfriend was a performer at eh now-closed Birdcage Theater, and I spent many hours there and at the Stunt show getting to know the stuntmen. Then she left me for the handsome male hero guy at the Birdcage. Ran off and married him. But I digress…

    (FYI – she and I are still good friends, and they have been married for more than 25 years.)

    I go back to Knott’s every few years. I have a lot of ties to the park, with friends who worked there, and I went to Walter Knott Elementary, which is behind the parking lot on Western. Can still remember when there was a “free” side to Knott’s, with a lagoon and a paddlewheel boat, as well as the carousel.

    Your images are great, wonderful work! And thanks for bringing back a few memories…

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